A Twist on Spaghetti
Several years ago my mom gifted my five sisters and I with a soft leather journal of family recipes and blessings written in her hand. It is a gift that I treasure because when I open the cream pages and pick out a familiar recipe I am instantly transported back to the place where I learned about love first.
Food is one of my family’s favorite love languages. We discuss food like others discuss the weather, politics and sports scores. I attribute my family’s closeness to the hours spent around that old farm table in my parent’s kitchen with mix matched chairs and colorful napkins. Seeing my mother and father cooking in the kitchen, setting the table for sometimes just 8, often more than 20, and uncorking the wine makes me feel like all is right in the world. It is so much less about what is simmering on the stove and much more about feeling my sisters near, watching my own children fold into the group, blushing at my father’s sense of humor, and relishing in the peace and love that my mother exudes without her even knowing it.
We laugh. We disagree. We hope. We give and receive wisdom. We feast on joy.
My mom’s recipe for Artichoke Chicken Spaghetti is a family favorite. It is one of those recipes that can be made in a pinch and increased easily to feed a legion. It’s even tastier the next day. We love to eat it almost like chili for lunch. It freezes brilliantly. Serve it straight out of the pot with a simple green salad and a crusty French baguette.
Artichoke and Chicken Spaghetti
1 whole organic chicken
1-2 cartons of white mushrooms ( I buy the already sliced ones! Did you know they are high in Vitamin D?)
1 onion, cut in eights
2 28 oz cans of whole tomatoes, with juice
1 small can of tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp Turbinado or brown sugar
1 1/2 cup chicken stock (from your homemade stock)
1/2 cup of red or white wine (your preference)
1 tbsp each of butter and olive oil
2 green peppers, sliced lengthwise
1 jar of artichoke hearts, drained
2 Bay leaves
1 Tbsp. Herbes de Provence (Note: A good variety includes thyme, basil, fennel, and lavender flowers)
2 tsp. oregano
1 cup of finely grated Parmesan
Sea salt & ground pepper
1 box of spaghetti
Cook whole chicken in a pot of salted water with stalk of celery, onion, bay leaf, carrot, Parmesan rind (optional), bay leaf, salt & pepper for 45 minutes. You will use the chicken and the homemade stock in the recipe. Set aside to cool. Debone the chicken, reserve 1 1/2-2 cups of your chicken stock and then freeze the rest. I use the white meat and reserve the legs and thighs for my husband’s lunch!
In a large pot sauté mushrooms and onion in butter and olive oil until tender. Add your tomatoes and juice, tomato paste, sugar, your homemade chicken stock, wine, herbs, chicken and salt & pepper. Cook for 15 minutes. Add your green pepper and artichoke hearts and cook until slightly tender. Pour half of Parmesan in and reserve the rest for topping the spaghetti. Salt and pepper to taste.
In a separate pot, bring your salted water to boil and cook until the spaghetti is al dente. At our house, we serve straight from the stovetop, a pile of noodles topped with the sauce and a spoonful or two of grated Parmesan for good measure!
Accompany with a simple green salad (arugula) with shavings of Parmesan (use a vegetable peeler), olive oil, juice from 1 lemon and Kosher salt.
Don’t forget the crusty bread and dishes of olive oil for dipping!